Military Review

Through the Sahara into orbit

Algeria is a partner of the USSR and Russia in the Maghreb, whose military leadership from the 90s against the background of the confrontation between the Arabs and the Berbers of this country is waging a fierce power struggle with the Islamists. It holds a leading position in the export of oil from North Africa to southern Europe (with stagnation of oil production and exports in Libya), plays an important role in the market of large infrastructure projects and military-technical cooperation.

The Algerians have a special role in the multi-million Arab diaspora in France. At the same time, there is little information in the domestic media about Algeria over and above the topics listed above. Let's add it, relying on the materials of S. S. Balmasov, A. Yu. Veselova and A. Yu. Noskov, prepared for IBI.

Great desalination

One of the most significant events in September was the signing of agreements between Algeria and Qatar on the promotion of Doha in the desalination of sea water in pursuance of the memorandum of understanding and cooperation concluded in 2014. In the ADR, as the population increases, the shortage of fresh water also increases. Qatar can help Algeria. However, for the time being, there is no question about the construction of desalination plants, although the Qataris are ready to bear the costs.

The high cost of desalinated water will cut off a large part of Algerians from this resource, although it will resolve the water crisis for industrial enterprises and power plants. But the problem can be solved by using water reserves under the sands of the Sahara. However, this requires 20 billion dollar investment. Amid the economic crisis, the Algerian leadership cannot afford such costs.

The establishment of cooperation in the field of desalination will increase the chances of Qatar to obtain more advantageous positions in the strategic sector for Algeria - energy. The parties are successfully implementing a project in the steel industry worth over 2,2 billion dollars, and a breakthrough in solving the water problem would be an incentive for the development of ties in the oil and gas sector.

The signed agreements are stalled, although this is the only way for the Algerian leadership. Oil and gas exports have been steadily declining (since 2007), due to the growth of the country's population. Establishing cooperation with Qatar is of international importance for Algeria. His hostile relations with Saudi Arabia in 2015 – 2016-m worsened after a demonstrative refusal to support the idea of ​​creating a unified Sunni army against Iran and its allies in Yemen.

It is important for Algeria to prevent the Arab world from rallying against itself, in which Riyadh has a serious influence. Building relationships with Qatar, rivaling KSA, absorbs the problem. Which is significant, since when the Syrian issue is resolved, the activity of the Arabian monarchies can be turned to North Africa, including the ANDR.

As for the fears that Qatar will capture the Algerian gas market, it’s too early to talk about it. The management of the ANDR is suspicious and will not allow any country to prevail in the energy sphere. So, although the head of the Algerian Armed Forces, General Ahmed Qaed Salah is a frequent guest in Qatar, he fears that by giving Doha the exclusive right to the energy market, ANDR will become dependent.

The intensification of the Algerian-Qatari ties is also hampered by the opacity of the cumbersome state machine of Algeria, which impedes the implementation of the agreements. State officials and generals are slowing down the development of bilateral relations, trying to capitalize on agreements with Qatar, who, on the basis of recognizing it as a strategically important partner for the ADR, can obtain such rights in practice.

Algerian satellite from China

The country intends to develop the space program, said the general director of the Algerian Space Agency (ASAL), Azzedin Usseddik, after launching three observation satellites (Alsat-26B, Alsat-1B and Alsat-2N) on September 14 by specialists from Satich Dhawan Space Center from the Sriharikote-Stimarote-1N space center from the Sri Sharikote-YT center (Sri Sharikote-35N) from Satri Dhawan Space Center (Sri Sharikote-XNUMXN). Indian rocket PSLV C-XNUMX.

Algerian products are in demand in the regional market: in Mauritania, Tunisia, Senegal, Niger and Chad. According to the Algerians, the Alsat-2A satellites launched into orbit are not inferior to the French Spot6 analogues in basic characteristics, and surpass them in some parameters, especially in image quality (resolution).
For several years, Algerian security officials have been trying to establish monitoring of remote and hard-to-reach areas in the east and south of the country, where groups of radical opposition operate. The leaders of the ANDR expect that the program with the declared value of 75 million dollars will partially pay for itself by providing services to states and companies interested in satellite information.

A commercial subsidiary will be created that will ensure the independence and autonomy of Algeria in the development and implementation of space products. They can also be claimed by civil structures, which should become its customers, including the Ministry of Agriculture and Water Resources. But the developers and manufacturers of "Algerian" satellites so far are companies from Asian countries, including the PRC.

The management of the ANDR expects that due to the gradual abandonment of foreign components and the transfer of production to their territory, it will be possible to achieve a two-fold reduction in the cost of satellites, increasing the commercial attractiveness of the space program, although there is a question about their quality. Algeria expects to use the space industry to strengthen its position in neighboring countries.

Entry into the market with the Indo-Chinese satellite surrogate will contribute to reducing the cost of commercial launches of satellites and related services, which threatens the specialized Russian structures with a decrease in revenues. But the main danger is the Algerian program for France, which was a monopolist in the provision of space services in Africa, especially Western.

Playing pipes

The Algerian leadership intends to return the share of the European gas market lost in 2007 – 2015 to other suppliers, especially Russia. Already in 2016, according to the management of the state-owned company Sonatrach, the export of Algerian blue fuel to Europe should make 50 billion cubic meters for the first time in nine years - 15 percent more than in 2015.

Through the Sahara into orbitThis will happen thanks to the full restoration of the capacity of the gas processing complex in In-Amenas, which suffered as a result of the attack of the militants of Mokhtar Belmokhtar and the assault by the security forces in January 2013, as well as the expansion of production at the Hassi R'Mel field.

In 2017, Algerian gas exports will grow at least nine billion cubic meters by commissioning three projects in the south-west of the country. These are the Tuat gas production complexes (due to earn in February with production of 12,8 million cubic meters per day), Timimoun (scheduled for launch in March, 4,6 million cubic meters per day is expected) and Reggan (will be commissioned in June, ensuring up to 8 million cubic meters per day). And this is without taking into account the expected commissioning at the end of 2016 - the beginning of 2017-th gas fields of Akabli Tidikelt, including the Alrar project, which should also provide additional volumes of oil.

Thanks to foreign aid (mainly EU and European energy companies), Sonatrach expects gas production in the country to reach 141,3 billion cubic meters in 2017, 143,9 billion cubic meters in 2018, 150 billion cubic meters in 2019 and 165 billion cubic meters in 20204.

In 2020, the ANDR is ready to increase gas production and throw at least a billion cubic meters more into the European market than 32 in the year. In parallel, gas exports to the EU countries of other energy powers, primarily the Russian Federation, should be tightened. Is it real? Terrorist attacks such as an attack on In-Amenas are not very likely. The main threat to the implementation of the plans is the top officials of Algeria. Adjustment will also occur in connection with the increase in domestic consumption of gas in the ADR, due to population growth, gasification of remote settlements and the launch of new plants.

The country takes on the ports

Maritime transport accounts for 95 percent of Algeria’s foreign trade and 98 percent of oil and gas trade. In the country of 18 ports. The largest oil tankers are Skikda and Arzev, which account for about 70% of foreign trade turnover. There are also LNG terminals with a capacity of 1228 cubic meters (920 cubic meters in Arzev and 308 cubic meters in Skikda).

There are container terminals in Algeria, Oran, Skikda, Idre, Annabe, Bejai and Jijel. The largest cargo ports are Algeria, Badj and Jijel. They account for 20 percent of foreign trade turnover. 75 percent container shipping - import.

Most of the infrastructure of the cargo ports of Algeria is outdated and suffered greatly during the civil war of 1991 – 2001. In the middle of 2000, Algeria’s efforts to develop transport infrastructure were the most significant in Africa (for 2010 – 2014, 38 billion were allocated to projects in this area).

In 2004, the Singaporean Portek acquired operating concessions (with the ANDR government) of the Bejaia port. In 2009, the concession to operate the ports of Algeria and Jijel for 30 years acquired Dubai Port World (UAE). Businessmen invested in port facilities.

As a result, Algeria has risen from 140-th place in the world in terms of transport development in 2007-m to 97-th in 2014-m. It is predicted that by the end of 2016, the country will take the 75-place. However, this indicator takes into account the entire transport sector, and the development of ports lags behind other types of logistics. During the period of economic growth, modernization projects touched primarily ports that provide trade in hydrocarbons and petroleum products (they are modern). Updating others was limited.

The underdeveloped infrastructure of most ports makes it impossible to service ships with a draft of more than 11 meters. This makes it necessary to use other ports with subsequent transportation by land, or to use the method of feeder transport (transshipment of small shipments to small vessels and vice versa - calling at more adapted ports). In the case of Algeria, the main transit ports are Spanish Valencia, Italian Cagliari, Marsaxlokk in Malta, and Moroccan Tanger Med.

According to the World Bank, the average cost of container transportation in Algeria in 2014 was 1186 euros for imports and 1133 for exports. Similar figures in Morocco - 865 and 531 euros, and in Tunisia - 812 and 718 euros.

In 2005 – 2014, imports of building materials, equipment, food, and cars increased. Since 2015, he has fallen by more than 10 percent. The country’s busiest port is Algeria (60 percent container traffic). The maximum draft of the ships served there is 16 meters.

Among the projects for the modernization of cargo ports is the largest - Jijel. It was built to serve the steel industry. In 2005, a project for its expansion was launched, after which, in 2014, the port became the main import center in the east of the country. By 2015, its cargo turnover reached almost five million tons. This is the country's deepest port (allows you to take ships with a draft of up to 17 m).

A project to expand the port of Oran worth 460 million euros is being implemented. Before 2017, it is planned to build a new container terminal (500 capacity thousand TEU per year), deepen the harbor to 13,8 meters (later to 17 m), build a breakwater and other infrastructure, including the railway. Both ports are in addition to the West-East highway, the opening of which can take place in 2017.

Algeria's leadership intends to build a deep-water port in 200 kilometers west of the capital. Estimated cost - 1,8 billion euros, capacity - four million TEU per year. It can become an important point on the Suez - Gibraltar route, competing with the ports of Tangier Med, Algeciras (Spain), Gioia Tauro (Italy), the ports of Turkey and Egypt. The works were to begin in the 2016 year. However, the likelihood of the project is low due to the lack of investors.

Algeria's problem is the small number of merchant ships fleet (12, not including oil and LNG carriers) with a total deadweight of 500 thousand tons. This makes Algerian logistics companies even weak competitors in the domestic transportation market, where Spain and Turkey have strong positions (the latter figure is 30 million tons of deadweight), especially in the feeder transportation market. Algeria plans to invest 1,1 billion euros by 2020 in the acquisition of 25 new cargo ships and two ferries.

Algeria can become a transit hub for transportation from the Sahel (primarily Niger) to Europe and back. Uranium from the ore of Niger deposits for France is now transported to Niamey (1200 km), and then to Benin Cotonou (1600 km). There he is loaded onto the railway and goes to the Beninese port of Parakou (400 km). From there, by sea through the Gulf of Guinea and Gibraltar goes to France.

The event should be the completion of the Transsahar highway (in the described situation, it is enough to link Niger and Algeria), which will optimize transportation from Niger to Europe and back along the route through Algeria to ports on the Mediterranean Sea. This will reduce the time and cost of transportation. The route can earn in five years.

From autobahn to primer

The roads of Algeria are among the best in Africa. The length of the paved roads - 71 656 kilometers, including 640 kilometers of high-speed highways. Plus 32 344 kilometers of unpaved roads. Most of the roads in the north. In the south they are few.

The main project in the field of automotive infrastructure in Algeria is the six-lane high-speed East-West highway (A1 Highway), 1216 kilometers in length. It is laid along the Mediterranean coast from Morocco to Tunisia (from Tlemcen to Anaba) and connects the main cities of the coast. The section between Constantine and Skikda is completed in 150 kilometers. Auxiliary infrastructure is under construction.

The decision to build a motorway was made in 2005 for the country's development program worth 11,2 billion dollars. The construction of the road allowed the creation of 100 thousands of jobs. The highway will take over 85 percent of the country's total car traffic, including 50 percent freight. The project should be part of the Transmagribinskaya highway from Libya to Mauritania seven thousand kilometers long, but due to political problems, it most likely will not be built.

In the highway "East - West" three sections: West, East and Center. The largest and most complex is the East, worth $ 5 billion. The construction was led by the COJAAL consortium of Japanese companies Kajima Corporation, Nishimatsu Construction Company, Itochu Corporation, Hazama Corporation and Taisei Corporation. The contract value is 3,9 billion euros. Part of the central and western sections were constructed by Chinese companies China Rail Construction Corporation and China International Trust and Investment Corporation. Initially it was planned that the highway would be completed in 2013 year, but the dates were postponed.

Another major project is the Highway of the Hauts Plateaux, which runs parallel to the East - West. Connect Tlemcen and Tebessa (on the border with Tunisia). The decision to build was taken in 2014. Contractors are not disclosed. According to a number of data, priority in the implementation of the project will be given to Algerian companies. The cost of the highway is 8,94 billion dollars. Like East - West, the project is divided into three parts. Both highways should be connected by 11 high-speed local roads, which will be completed by the 2025 year.

An important project on the scale of Algeria and the whole of Africa is the Trans-Saharan highway. The length of the road from Algeria to Lagos will be about 4500 kilometers. A construction plan was proposed in 1962. Work began on 70's. More than 80 percent of the highway is built, although the quality does not meet modern requirements of operation and safety. 2300 kilometers of motorways pass through the territory of Algeria. Starting from the province of Ghardaia and to the south, the quality of the road is very low, and a few tens of kilometers before the border with Niger, the road ends. The construction of the highway, the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline and the laying of an electrical cable that should connect the two countries are the main joint projects of Algeria and Niger. It is assumed to lay the Trans-Saharan gas pipeline and electric cable near the highway.

In addition to Nigeria, Niger and Algeria, the project is important for Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad, since the highway will intersect with the Transsakhelskaya highway (although now its prospects are unclear). In December, 2014 was announced the completion of the final stage of construction and modernization of the highway in Algeria and Niger - the site in 225 kilometers. The tender was won by Algerian and Nigerian companies. Most are built, but the project will require large investments and time, especially considering the construction in Niger and Nigeria. Important for the transformation of this highway into a strategic trade route for the continent will be a security issue. Nevertheless, the project is being implemented.

For Algeria, in addition to the development of the southern provinces through which the highway passes, it is important to have trade routes. They must be activated in connection with the opening of the road. In the 90s, due to the situation in the country, a significant part of the north-south freight turnover was redirected across the Atlantic coast (Morocco, Mauritania) and Algeria partially lost the importance of a transport corridor. Now the situation in the southern provinces is unstable, so the profitability of the Trans-Saharan highway for Algeria will be limited. At the same time, domestic companies that have suffered heavy losses in Libya do not go to Algerian infrastructure projects.
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